Halloween

Halloween: Trick or Treat?

So let’s talk Halloween. I’m sure you can guess from my previous posts how I feel about it. But you might be surprised to find out that my biggest problem with Halloween is not the candy, costumes or themes of evil and death…although I could go on for hours about these. My biggest problem with Halloween is the church adopting this pagan holiday and trying to make it into something good.

I have seen pictures and messages all over social media advertising church parties and gatherings for Halloween. To be really honest, those disturb me more than seeing non-believers in gruesome face masks, gory makeup, hyper-sexualized or even devil costumes. Why?

Because we are supposed to be set apart for God.

While it’s true the Bible doesn’t speak directly about Halloween, or most modern Christian holidays for that matter, which should really make you pause and wonder why, the Bible is very clear about the separation between good and evil, right and wrong, the holy and the profane.

When you come into the land which YHVH your Elohim is giving you, do not learn to do according to the abominations of those gentiles. Be perfect before YHVH your Elohim, for these nations whom you are possessing do listen to those using magic and to diviners. But as for you, YHVH your Elohim has not appointed such for you. Deuteronomy 18:9, 13-14

And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the desire of YHVH is. Ephesians 5:11,17

Beloved ones, do not imitate the evil, but the good. The one who is doing good is of Elohim, but he who is doing evil has not seen Elohim. 3 John 1:11

Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? And what agreement has Messiah with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what union has the Dwelling Place of Elohim with idols?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

Now let me be clear. I am not saying celebrating Halloween in any way makes you a bad person or you’ll go to hell or will be punished.

I do, however, believe what the Scripture says…that we should discern what is pleasing to our God and strive to be perfect as He is perfect. The Word of God is clear that YHVH desires us to be set apart and to not mimic the practices of the peoples around us. That means that we cannot take any part of the things that keep us separated or divided from God.

This is how the enemy does trick-or-treating.

He gets his treats from tricking us into believing we can change the meaning of Halloween into something acceptable to God.

This is my concern with the Church celebrating pagan holidays, including Halloween. We take something that was never meant to be part of the ways of YHVH and make it into something that allows us to take part with the nations around us. We ease our conscience by giving it a new name, of course, but it’s still the same. “A rose by any other name” as Shakespeare put it.

But these “Harvest Festivals” and “Trunk or Treating” and “Harvest Carnivals” are still Halloween. The enemy of God doesn’t care what you call it, just as long as you celebrate it. That’s because taking part of the unclean makes us unclean. If we are unclean, we are separated from God.

I once heard the story of a man who wanted to teach his daughters a lesson in righteous living when they asked to see a movie that was ungodly. When he pointed out the inappropriate content in the movie, his daughters replied, “but it’s only a little bit.” To illustrate the dangers of allowing even a little bit of ungodliness in our lives, he baked some brownies and added a tiny bit of dog poop in the batch. When they refuse to eat the the dog-poop brownies, he gives them the same response they gave him about the movie, “but it’s only a little bit.”

The point is, no matter how much we try to change the original intent of Halloween and dress it up and give it a “church message,” there will always be some amount of poop that remains.

I recently saw a post on social media inviting people to a church on Halloween with the words “Hell Night” written in bloody letters across the top. I’ve seen young children on their way to church events with their faces plastered with gory, slasher-movie make up to make them look like zombies or monsters. The disturbing part are the crosses hanging prominently in the background of these families’ homes.

We are not to mix the holy and the profane. We shouldn’t be teaching our children that we can live in both the heavenly and the worldly realm. We CANNOT be like the world. No matter how much we try to change the common things, we will never be able to make them holy.

If we truly want to celebrate the harvest season, YHVH appointed the seasons of Sukkot — the Feast of Tabernacles — and First Fruits for this purpose. Both are feasts of the LORD and allow us to celebrate the seasons of life. But if we can’t bring ourselves to line up with YHVH’s instruction, then perhaps we need to reassess the motives of our hearts.

What is most important to us? Fitting in with the world or fitting in with our Father?

If we intend to live in the Father’s house, then we will never look like the rest of the world. That has to be ok with us; it can’t just be words that come out of our mouths. We have to be totally committed to living a set apart life and not fitting in with the rest of the world.

So this Halloween, don’t be fooled by the tricks or treats of the enemy.

Blood-Moon-Rising

The Blood Moons and the Rapture

After reading this post, several readers have asked if I believed that the occurrence of the tetrad of blood moons on the Feasts of YHVH was a signal that the rapture will happen in September 2015 or sometime this year.

Bottom line up front: NO, I do not think that the blood moons in this current cycle of tetrads is evidence or a prediction that the rapture will occur in the immediate future.

With that said, I’ve always had a hard time with the concept of the rapture because Biblically it doesn’t line up with other Scripture and there is no reference to it occurring in Revelation. Several years ago, I did some very basic research into the origins of the rapture and discovered that the concept of the rapture came from a very young girl on her deathbed in Scotland. Margaret MacDonald was a very young girl when John Darby, the founder of the Plymouth Brethern, heard of her “visions from God” and traveled to Scotland to meet her. I’ve also heard that MacDonald was very ill and on her deathbed when these “revelations from God” began to appear to her — at the height of her illness her fever was so high that she began having hallucinations. John Darby, brought back these “visions” and ideas and provided the foundation for what would become known as the pre-tribulation rapture.

Now, back to the blood moons. The occurrence of the blood moons on YHVH’s Feasts does not mean that the Second Coming of Yeshua will happen at Tabernacles 2015 (although, perhaps at a future Sukkot). But the blood moons does give us a pattern of Jewish persecution/war followed by new land/blessings for Israel.

The eclipses of the sun and the moon during this past year give us dates which we cannot deny or manipulate. But I think the most important thing is to not to get too caught up on or focused on date-setting but rather the warning YHVH is sending us. Clearly, something significant is coming that He is trying to warn and/or prepare us for, but He doesn’t want us in panic or confusion. Ultimately, what we really should be focused on is the wake-up call the Lord is giving us and on preparing for what the Bible tells us is to come so that we do not become like the foolish virgins of Matthew 25.

Yom Teruach Golden Gate

The Day and the Hour Which No Man Knows

Tonight, Sunday, September 13, 2015, the new moon is expected to be seen in Israel. The new moon will officially mark the beginning of Yom Teruach! Many people incorrectly know this day as Rosh Hashanah or “the Head of the New Year.” However, Biblically, this day was known as Yom Teruach or the Day of Trumpets. Because of this deliberate change, many people miss out on the true meaning of this important High Holy Day.

The Anti-Christ and the Changing of YHVH’s Timetable
According to YHVH’s Word, the new year is actually to begin in the spring time at Passover.

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to YHVH. Leviticus 23:5

YHVH called the month in which Passover occurs the “first month.” The month we just began, Tishri, is the seventh Biblical month and is not the new year but, rather, the month containing the 3 fall feasts of the 7 annual feasts of YHVH.

Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you have a rest, a remembrance of blowing of trumpets, a set-apart gathering. You do no servile work, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH.’

And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH. And you do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before YHVH your Elohim. For any being who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. And any being who does any work on that same day, that being I shall destroy from the midst of his people. You do no work – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you observe your Sabbath.”

And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to YHVH. On the first day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. For seven days you bring an offering made by fire to YHVH. On the eighth day there shall be a set-apart gathering for you, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH. It is a closing festival, you do no servile work. These are the appointed times of YHVH which you proclaim as set-apart gatherings, to bring an offering made by fire to YHVH, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a slaughtering and drink offerings, as commanded for every day – besides the Sabbaths of YHVH, and besides your gifts, and besides all your vows, and besides all your voluntary offerings which you give to YHVH. Leviticus 23: 24-48

So how did this change occur? Daniel 7:25 tells us that the spirit of the anti-Christ is to change the appointed times of YHVH. By changing YHVH’s appointed times, or getting rid of them altogether, the enemy keeps us oblivious to the season we are in. If we don’t know the season or times we are in, we can’t properly prepare. If we don’t properly prepare, we risk being caught unaware when the Bridegroom comes for His Bride.

and it [the beast] speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time. Daniel 7:25

In 325 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea. The result of this council was a new religion that blended the Nazarene faith (the belief in Torah and Yeshua the Messiah which the early apostles and who we call the first “Christians” would have actually have been called) with Mithraism (paganism) and created what we now know as Catholicism. This council is where modern Christianity got it beginnings. Constantine and his council took the true faith and gospel of Yeshua that the disciples had preached (which never parted from Torah) and mixed it with their pagan religion to create a new form of sun/son worship. This new religion changed the holy days of YHVH to the holy days of sun worship…hence Sunday being the new holy day/Sabbath.

As we read in Leviticus 23, YHVH had already established His timetable and His Holy days. The Feast Days of YHVH, or moedim in Hebrew, are the timetable YHVH uses. Significant events in His story always coincide with the Feasts. In Matthew 16:1-4, Yeshua admonishes the Pharisees and Sadducees for understanding the signs of the weather but not understanding the signs of the God. Let this not be the case for us. May we humble ourselves and seek after YHVH’s times and not our own.

What is Yom Teruach?
Yom Teruach is the Day of Trumpets. When you see the word “trumpet” in the Bible, it is almost always referring to a shofar or a ram’s horn. The sounding of a shofar signifies a significant event is about to take place. A shofar was blown to gather all the tribes of Israel together for a meeting with YHVH, religious ceremony, or battle. It was used in battle to direct soldiers. It is also frequently used to wake those who slumber from their sleep. On Yom Teruach, the shofar is blown 100 times and is blown every morning during the previous month of Elul in preparation. It is truly a wake-up call to those who have ears to hear.

Yeshua warned us of a future Yom Teruach.

And immediately after the distress of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Adam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Adam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem. And He shall send His messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. And learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that the summer is near. So you also, when you see all these, know that He is near, at the doors. Truly, I say to you, this generation shall by no means pass away until all this takes place. The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away.

But concerning that day and the hour no one knows, not even the messengers of the heavens, but My Father only. And as the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be. For as they were in the days before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be. Then two shall be in the field, the one is taken and the one is left. Two shall be grinding at the mill, one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Master is coming. And know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Because of this, be ready too, for the Son of Adam is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him. Matthew 24:29-44

Many people who do not have an understanding of Torah inaccurately explain that Yeshua was telling His disciples that we can never know the day He will return. This is why it is imperative that we not only understand but also live Torah. It is the basis for everything we say we believe. It is YHVH’s timetable and compass that will point us to our Messiah.

The “day and the hour which no man knows” was and still is a Hebrew idiom or nickname for Yom Teruach. Why? Yom Teruach is the only feast that begins on the first day of it’s month. In order to know when a new month begins, the new moon must be spotted in the sky. In Biblical days, a watchman would stand outside every night in his watchman’s tower and look for the sliver of the moon that indicates the new month had begun. Even today with our fancy NASA calendars and advanced technology it’s still impossible to know exactly what day the new moon will appear. This explains the nickname the day and the hour which no man knows.

When Yeshua said this, it would have been no mystery to the disciples or anyone obeying Torah to understand what He meant. They would have immediately known He was referring to a future Yom Teruach.

In Biblical days, once the watchman spotted the new moon, he would then blow the shofar and word would spread across Israel that the feast of Yom Teruach had begun. Because it is a holy day and treated as a Sabbath, all workWatchman New Moon would immediately cease. Therefore, when Yeshua said that two would be in the field and one would be taken and the other left, He was saying that one would leave His work and head to the Temple and the other would ignore the shofar and stay in the field. Most Christians are sadly taught that this is referring to the rapture. Again, without understanding Torah and YHVH’s timetable, it’s near impossible to truly understand prophecy, the words of Yeshua, or decipher the times and seasons we are living in.

Yom Teruach and the Fall Feasts
Yom Teruach also marks the beginning of the fall feasts. As we read in Leviticus 23, we celebrate Yom Teruach on the first day of the month, then on the 10th day of the month we celebrate Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and the 15th day Sukkot (Tabernacles) is celebrated.

The 10 day period between Yom Teruach and Yom Kippur is called the 10 Days of Awe. This is YHVH’s mercy to His Bride as she prepares to come before Him on Judgment Day. It is believed that the Books of Life and Death are opened by God on Yom Teruach and they are closed on Yom Kippur — the righteous being inscribed in the Book of Life, while the names of the wicked are “blotted out.” As I’ve mentioned in other posts about Elul, the month of Elul is a month to emotional healing and repent/forgive. If, for whatever reason, you still haven’t finished this process, YHVH gives you 10 more days before Judgment Day to make things right.

After Yom Kippur, Sukkot is celebrated. Sukkot is known as the Wedding Feast and is a week long celebration. It is an extremely joyous time! Having this understanding of the LORD’s feasts and His timetable makes the connection between “the day and the hour which no man knows,” Judgement Day, and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb a little more clear and interesting doesn’t it?

YHVH doesn’t want His people in the dark. He doesn’t want us groping around in confusion trying to make sense of His plan. He is not a God of confusion, but, rather, of order and organization. He gives us clear instructions and signs to guide us in our journey. But in order to understand these instructions and road signs, we must first have an understanding of Torah. Sadly, we have been taught that Torah is a burden and something that doesn’t apply to us, but without Torah, it’s nearly impossible to truly understand the words of Yeshua and the New Testament.

Most of us keep Torah whether we know it or not. We believe murder, adultery, stealing, lying, cheating, etc. are all wrong, yet we allow ourselves to get hung up on just a few points. But if we take a step back, and really consider what Torah entails, we see that “this command which I am commanding you today, it is not too hard for you, nor is it far off. I am commanding you today to love YHVH your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings. And you shall live and increase, and YHVH your Elohim shall bless you in the land which you go to possess.” Deuteronomy 30: 11, 16

Let us not be like the Pharisees and Sadducees who could not discern the signs God had given them. Instead, let us awaken from our slumber and prepare ourselves that we will not be found unaware when our King returns. Let us not be like those outside the House of God who do not know and understand the day and the hour in which we are living. Let us rejoice, celebrate, and give thanks to YHVH for His loving-faithfulness and continue doing the hard work in these last 10 days before Yom Kippur.

Gemar Chatimah Tova! May your final sealing (in the Book of Life) be good!